Indonesian civil society groups that act as independent forest monitors have called for action to further improve the credibility and accountability of the country’s timber legality assurance system (SVLK), which Indonesia developed under its Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the EU.
The UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) has published its latest briefing note on the implementation of the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR), which covers the period September to October 2018.
Indonesia has been stepping up action against illegal logging and other forest crimes, with an increase in law enforcement operations and hundreds of court cases in the past three years. However, improving monitoring and law enforcement remains a challenging task.
This month, Indonesia and the EU marked the second anniversary of a major milestone in their partnership against illegal logging — the launch of the world’s first ‘FLEGT’ licensing scheme, guaranteeing the legality of timber products exported to the EU.
Looking back into a past of chaos, corruption and crime, Indonesia has clearly come a long way in reforming its timber sector. During the 1990s and early 2000s, illegal logging was so widespread that more than 70-80 per cent of timber produced in Indonesia was sourced illegally.
Indonesia’s Independent Forest Monitoring Network (JPIK) says the country’s timber legality assurance system (SVLK) has led to “significant changes in improving good forest governance” but still has weaknesses and must be continuously improved to ensure its credibility and accountability.
In this exclusive interview with the ETTF, European Commission Director General for the Environment Daniel Calleja Crespo describes the first year of FLEGT licensing by Indonesia as a great start. Now, he says, it’s the responsibility of all stakeholders to capitalise on the opportunities presented by this unique timber legality initiative and to take the wider EU FLEGT Action Plan forward.
Indonesia and the EU have released a joint report on progress in implementing the Voluntary Partnership Agreement from May 2015 to December 2016. The report describes progress made with the timber legality assurance system, institutional improvements, stakeholder engagement, communication, transparency and monitoring of the agreement.